BME’s Big Question #3: Economic Collapse Edition

Welcome to BME’s Big Question! In this weekly (hopefully) feature, we’re going to ask a handful of the community’s best and brightest piercers, tattooists, heavy mod practitioners and shop owners for their opinion on one question or issue that’s affecting the body modification community. Many, many thanks to all of the contributors.

If you’d like to be a part of future editions, or if you have an idea for an issue or question you’d like to see addressed, please e-mail me.

This week’s topic:

The economy is in the crapper. People across the country (and the world) are being forced to reevaluate what qualifies as a necessity, as well as their own skills and what they’re capable of contributing to a society that appears to be on the brink of an economic collapse. Where does body modification fall? It may not be a “necessity” the way food and shelter are, but it’s undeniably vital to many people. What are your thoughts on the current economic situation and how it will affect body modification as an industry?

* * *

Steve Truitt
I think, and am noticing, that business is slowing down quite a bit, but it normally does around this time of year here every year. It seems slower than normal, but going through my books, it isn’t.

I think that people will continue to get tattoos/piercings/etc. done even when the economy is bad because they make them feel good about themselves — even though they aren’t necessities. Much like sales of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, etc. don’t really get affected like other industries (restaurants, movie theaters and so on) by the economy, I think body modification will be just fine overall. It just seems that people are opting for cheaper plain jewelry instead of going with the fancy jeweled piece more often now though.

John Joyce
A lot of people around Syracuse work in factories. New Venture Gear/ Chrysler is one of the larger ones, and they have been laying people off since the end of last year. Before them there was Carrier, which ended up closing. With these lay-offs, there are thousands of people with no work. I’ve definitely noticed a slight drop in the amount of business we are doing which I definitely relate to the local economy. But like Steve said, it’s not that I’m really doing fewer piercings, I’m just using less expensive jewelry. People aren’t getting the gems as often, and I’ve received far fewer requests for the more expensive plugs.

I’m also seeing more and more people coming in after getting work done somewhere else — usually with very low quality jewelry, poor placement, the wrong aftercare information, and all sorts of irritation. While I’ve always had people come in to get things fixed from these other places, the number is definitely increasing.

Meg Barber
As both a piercer, and someone who works in a wholesale situation, I have totally noticed a drop in business on both ends.

As for piercing, we have recently dropped from doing about $3,000 a day or more to an average of about $1,000-$2,000. That’s a big drop for us. Being in NYC especially makes it worse; people feel the drops in the stock market a little more keenly I think. People are more conservative with their spending now, and the idea of luxury, except for the very wealthy, is a back-burner thought.

Thankfully, we do have some of those clients keeping numbers high. But, yeah … sales are lower, and people are price shopping more, and with the cost of gold climbing, that makes it really hard on us at times. But we make it.

Barry Blanchard
Sure, the economy is in the crapper — that is indisputable. Guess what: it’s probably going to get worse.

What we do for a living makes someone who is not feeling well feel good about themselves. I do not see it getting so bad that it comes down to “food or a piercing, but it is that fear that keeps people from spending extra money on an item such as a piercing.

We are all going to feel “it.”

It’s time to get back to the basics, such as customer service and quality. That way, when someone does want to spend their hard earned (and slim) money, they will come to you — that person who treated them the best.

Anatometal has been hammered with orders right up until today. Not sure what tomorrow will bring, but make no bones about it: We are busy.

Jewelry (including body jewelry) has shown to be one of the more “recession-proof” items out there. No, we are not talking about big ticket items — those who can afford those will afford them no matter what.

My point: girl walks into a tattoo shop because she has nothing better to do. She just got laid off, and she wants to get a tattoo, but that $125/hour rate is a bit much for her. Instead she walks out with a $40-60 piece for her navel. She feels better about herself and helps this economy at the same time. Retail therapy works and works very well for not just that girl with the new navel bling; it also works for people like you and me.

We are up 10 percent from last year, and up 33 percent from two years ago. I attribute this to our customer service staff and our great customers.

Steve Truitt
Barry, are you noticing more sales of basic items than the fancier pieces right now? More than usual, I should say, since I’m sure basic plain pieces are always going to be the biggest seller.

Over the last year almost every microdermal I did was with a gem on it; now only about a third are. And up until about two or three months ago, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d pierced a navel with a plain curved barbell — now I haven’t used a jeweled curve in maybe two months.

Barry Blanchard
Basic stuff will always do well for those wanting a new piercing. The catch is to get those people in your environment and treat them just how you would want to be treated.

We don’t do too much “super high-end” stuff like what Meg works with, so it’s hard for me to judge. Gemmed eyelets are most certainly a bit down, but that started after other companies started putting out similar designs.

Just today, I noticed a lot of gold going to places like Japan — more than usual, even.

To answer your question Steve: it appears to be that orders are not much different than they were just a few months ago.

Brian Decker
I’ve never worked in a busy 30-piercing-a-day type shop, so I never expect things to be “busy,” but I’m honestly not noticing any decline in business for myself. If anything, I feel like walk-ins are growing for me, but I attribute that greatly to keeping my pricing as low as is economically possible. Since I seem to have a great reputation in the area for piercing, especially with the college crowd, that’s definitely what keeps me working.

I certainly know, based on the levels of standards of sterility and jewelry quality, I should be charging more, but unfortunately, many people in the city will not pay more. Now that I attribute mainly to lack of information and legislation for possible clientele. If a client comes into the shop and allows me to educate them, very rarely will they leave without the work, but if people know you charge more, they just don’t bother coming in at all. I seem to have found the perfect pricing to maintain clients, but even still, being that I do charge more than most other shops in the area, bunches of people still nearly faint when I tell them the prices. For these people, I really just blame the cost of living in NYC. It’s true, piercing probably isn’t a necessity for most people, so if they don’t know better and can get it cheaper, of course they’re going to.

Barry, I’m curious, with the orders you’re getting, how much of that is from select, enormously busy shops that have been ordering like that for years? You obviously produce unmatched quality, but also obviously more costly than, say Wildcat or BMS, which I’d suspect makes it harder for the smaller shops to exclusively stock your entire line, no? I’m very curious, how many shops in NYC stock your basics?

Barry Blanchard
The orders I get are based on customers like yourself, Brian — you too, Steve.

From the start, we have not had much business out of NYC, so that’s not really something I can go by.

Any shop that’s been ordering from us for the duration knows what I know: piercings as a whole have declined over the past ten years. At the same time, jewelry sales have gone up. Perhaps not for all of you, but as a whole? Body jewelry is doing well.

Those who have visited Anatometal should know its more of a “mom and pop” type atmosphere. It’s shops like yours, Mr. Decker, that I prefer to cater to, and perhaps that’s why things are the way they are at my work.

Sure there are ups and downs, but it seems when one area is down another picks up, and so on and so forth. It’s sort of hard for me to judge unless I do a year-to-year comparison. I have my bookkeeper working on that for September ’07 versus September ’08. October is a better “judge” as it’s typically our slowest month of the year.

Because of the current economic status in America, just know I am watching things very, very closely, looking for the signs, just like everyone else.

I do think that we stand out and sell to a select crowd, Brian — no different than Tiffany & Co. would in the world of standard jewelry. I would like to see how places like BVLA are doing.

Brian Decker
I completely understand what you’re saying, and I love you for that (as well as for other things), but let’s be honest: I don’t spend thousands of dollars per order with you. I wish I had to, but I know it’s not me paying your bills. That’d be places like HPP or old Dragon FX, I’d assume.

Barry Blanchard
It’s the sum of all the “Decker Shops” that are the brunt of our business, and I monitor this very closely.

Some of you will remember that there was a day when we were the biggest in the USA. I don’t ever want to go back to that again as you cannot have that and those three things mentioned above. I turn down anywhere about 25 percent of new clients, even in this economy. I want to be able to serve the clients I have now and in the future.

Meg Barber
To keep our costs down, we make all of our own steel posts, both straight and curved. The only things we are ordering from “the outside” are balls, surface bars, microdermal bases, and the occasional large gauge items.

On the wholesale side, we get a few orders per week, and they are generally for at least $1,000. We ask people how stuff is selling, and they all pretty much tell us the same thing: that it all sells at a good rate. I’m not sure how these shops are charging in comparison to how we charge in our retail store; it would be interesting to find out actually.

I’ve noticed in the retail store we are doing more piercings lately than in past months, but the jewelry is really, really basic — lots of white gold fixed ball rings in cartilage, 1.2 mm. diamonds in nostrils, and our basic $135 gold/CZ navel combo. We’re still getting the bigger ticket items to move, but it’s a little less than in past months. On Sunday, we did $3,000. Monday, we barely did $700. It’s fluctuating a lot more, and with October being historically slow, it’s hard to gauge whether it’s the typical time of year drop, or economics.

I will say that I did have a client tell me how he just lost half of his money in a stuck crash in recent weeks. He talked about how hard it is for him right now, and how bad things are with everyone he knows. Then he bought a $550 navel piece for himself.

Barry Blanchard
I think we can all agree on one thing: we are all okay. Sure, we are not where we would like to be. Even Meg’s stock broker can agree with that.

I can say where the economy has affected us, and it’s not exactly where this topic started: the cost of materials went through the roof over a year ago. Stainless, Titanium, and yes of course: gold. We tightened our belts a year ago, and perhaps that’s why the little Anatometal engine keeps chugging along.

Meg Barber
The cost of gold is a pain in our ass.

Barry Blanchard
Real numbers:

September ’07 to September ’08: Eight percent growth, and that’s about spot on correct considering all that is going on around us. The October numbers will paint a much clearer picture.

John Joyce
I was just looking over numbers and comparing them to last year. Surprisingly, business is up, just over $15,000. But … so is our spending, which is up almost $19,000.

So, so far this year I’m down almost $4,000 in profits from last year. I blame most of that on the increase of all our supplies — gloves, jewelry, etc. — but, I also blame a lot of that on APP. Man, did I spend far too much money there this year. Cervesa is not cheap!

It’s really just the last two months that I’ve seen a real dip in business. But like I said earlier, New Venture Gear/Chrysler laid off most of their employees around that time, and it looks like they may be closing completely. I just heard today that another big factory was sold and there are already threats of picketing and lay-offs there. So we’ll see what the rest of the year brings.

Derek Lowe
I think modification is going to feel the impact of the economic issues, but I certainly don’t think we’re going to feel it as much as many other types of businesses. Choosing to spend less money by cooking at home is a substitute for going out to eat. Renting a move for $4 is a substitute for spending $20 for two people to go see a movie on a Saturday night. Watching a sporting event on TV is a substitute for spending money on tickets to actually go to the arena.

There simply isn’t a substitute for modification.

Some people will choose to do something different all-together because it’s less expensive. But I think most people who want to get pierced or tattooed will do so because nothing else is going to satiate that desire. They might alter their jewelry choices are size of their tattoo, to help keep the cost down, but I don’t think it’s going to keep that many people away. Now, if we find ourselves in another full-on Great Depression with a 25 percent unemployment rate, it might be a different story. I think the odds of that happening are pretty small though.

I think John touched on a really good point as well: geography is going to play a big role. Being in Minneapolis — a fairly liberal, well-educated, reasonably affluent larger city — I don’t expect to feel the economic impact as much as if I were still working in Cleveland — a fairly conservative, blue-collar city that has had a struggling economy for a while now.

Looking at our numbers, I see that we are down this September, just slightly, compared to last September. Overall though, we are up this year a decent amount, compared to last year, in both piercing fees and jewelry sales. Tattooing shows a similar trend.

This whole “crisis” is just starting to play itself out though, so I think the next few months will provide a much clearer picture.

Allen Falkner
It’s good to hear that everyone is doing well. However, most, if not all of you are on the upper end of the spectrum for sure. I’m not sure about other cities, but I have noticed piercing shops in the Dallas closing. In this city, as with most, tattooing and piercing are combined in one shop. The trend I have been seeing is that the tattoo artist/shop owners are phasing out piercing and the piercers/shop owners are thriving on the shift of business. Now on the flip side of this, tattoo shops are opening left and right. With the all the media exposure, tattooing is the new “navel of the ’90s” and people of all skill levels are cashing in.

As for the common piercer, I think there are dark days ahead. Shop owners and select, well established piercers in good location shops still have plenty of life left in them, but seriously, piercing is a young person’s game. As inflation has risen over the last decade the costs of both jewelry and service have remained fairly steady. If you take into account a four-to-six percent yearly cost of living rate increase, combined with the financial burden of raising a family, the life span of a piercer seems to be getting shorter and shorter.

Tattooing, on the other hand, is a whole different animal. Unlike piercers, tattooers are seen as unique artists. Rather than the, “I can get it for $5 less down the street” mindset, tattooing style and ability has a more intrinsic value. Because of this, the art of tattooing is based more on the artist and less on the average market value. Plus, tattoos represent a very different commitment then body piercing.

Of course, everyone here will have a different numbers, but in general piercing clients get worked on a few times and buy new jewelry a few times. Tattoo customers have a much higher percentage of being life-long customers. You can take a piercing out, but the ink is with you forever. (Well, maybe not in my line of business, but that’s another topic all together.) My point is that once people start getting tattooed, they continually want to add, modify or change their tattoos. This just isn’t true for the average piercing client.

Back to the point at hand, piercing has passed its peak, dropped a bit and is finally beginning to level off. However, I agree with you all that modification is a “feel good” service and should ride out the bad economy, especially in college towns where students have fewer financial responsibilities and exploring the world of body modification has become almost a rite of passage for young adults. As for tattooing, I think the unstable economy might be just the thing to help weed out all the mediocre artists that are riding the media shock wave. Overall, unlike Wall Street, this financial crisis might actually be a good thing for the modded community. If nothing else, modified people looking for other forms of work has and will continue to change people’s opinions about what modifications are acceptable in the “real” world.

John Joyce
I completely agree with Allen. If I wasn’t the owner of this studio, I couldn’t make it as just a piercer here. Without the income from the tattoo artists, the piercing business just isn’t as booming as it once was. New tattoo studios are popping up all over Syracuse and the surrounding area. Some of them have piercers, some of them don’t. The ones that do have a high turnover rate. It seems like every other week I hear about some new guy piercing at so-and-so’s shop.

There have definitely been weeks, and even months where piercing seems very slow, and the tattoo artists here carry us through those times. When I first opened, and even up to about a year ago, I could carry the studio on piercing alone. That is definitely not the case any longer.

Stephen DeToma
The economic issues absolutely affect our business. The people that haven’t put any thought into what they’re getting and where they’re getting it done are the first ones we lose; the crowds of college kids that used to flood the shop on the weekends are definitely thinning. But, in the wake of that, I’m finding that the people who are coming through the door know exactly what they want and have been thinking about it for a bit. So instead of four outer helix piercings on college girls, it’s more becoming one individual looking for something maybe a little more complicated and willing to spend a little more in the process.

We’ve felt the hit. In simple terms, it seems like the parents have less money, so the stream of cash trickling down to the college student seams to be less than it was even last year. Things suck and, I agree with Barry, that they will be getting worse, but I don’t think the choice will be piercings/tattoos/mods or food. I think it will be more along the lines of new shoes/purse/movies or getting work done. I’ve never been one to have a lot of money, so to me that isn’t anything new. But dealing with a new breed of college freshmen that may or may not have ever had to hold down a real job, exist without a cellphone or credit card … this will be a kick in the pants.

I’ll tell you what’s pulling me through it personally: the regulars. People who we build relationships with and continue to come back to us really help.

I think Allen makes a good point by saying that piercing is a young man’s game. I’m lucky that I was able to come back to piercing after not working for a few years and I truly enjoy it, but I do find myself wondering what I’ll be doing in another five or 10 years.

Brian Decker
I fully agree with Allen’s last paragraph. For myself, anyhow, any drop off in business is just attributed to the lesser popularity of piercing as a whole, not so much the cost.

Barry Blanchard
I agree with Allen as well.

Allen Falkner
We need a topic where everyone will have a difference of opinion.

Steve Truitt
We should just invite Cere into the conversations and he can disagree with everyone.

Allen Falkner
You know, Cere is a tattoo artist … I would say invite Bradly, but I have a sneaking suspicion he/she is already on the panel.

What do you think? Let’s hear it in the comments.

* * *

Please consider buying a membership to BME so we can continue bringing you articles like this one.

47 thoughts on “BME’s Big Question #3: Economic Collapse Edition

  1. Pingback: BME: Tattoo, Piercing and Body Modification News » ModBlog » NEW ARTICLE POSTED!

  2. I’m currently smack-dab in the middle of a major piercing project that was nearly a year in the planning. Yes, money is tight, but I’ve saved to get this project done, and I’d feel (and look) foolish to stop now, so it’s getting finished, no matter how bad my economic status is.

    Don’t be fooled though. I’ve decided to put off the tattoo I want, and I most likely will hold off on any other things I want to do until the economy takes a turn for the better. I’ll sacrifice dinners out, clothing, and entertainment before I’ll sacrifice my mods, but I’m a middle aged woman, not a college student, so their sacrifices are most likely different than mine.

  3. I love these articles, i really really do. It’s like the next best thing to having you all over for a BBQ and a chat.

    I agree it would be interesting to have a topic where there will be differing opinions, but i do like reading along nodding my head in agreement.

  4. I was driving around with a friend the other day and got a sudden urge to get my double nostrils done once again. I asked him if it was a good idea. His Response:

    “Our economy is in no way stable enough for you to be putting holes in your face”

    i thought it was funny

  5. I agree with you guys. Body modification is a completely different animal in terms of expendability. I’m flat broke right now, but I’m still squirreling away money for my planned back and 2 calf pieces. I think it’s mostly because people see tattoos and piercings and hell, everything else there is, as something more than a cup of coffee or a movie ticket- it’s a part of you that will be there forever (er, for the most part anyway).

  6. Yeah, the economy is really bad, but for those that are still making enough money to make ends meet, the option of body mods has not disappeared. If you want it bad enough, you’ll still save up or pinch pennies to do it!

    I am by no means rolling in money, and plan on saving up the long, hard way for various things I’d like (i.e. HDTV, vacation, eventually a small wedding, etc.). However, this has not put my plans for another tattoo on the back burner at all! Tattoos mean so much more than material things like a TV or a car; they have the special value that only a tattooed person can understand. Until the day comes (God forbid) that the economy is so bad that I am literally broke, I won’t forget about tattoos.

  7. im a tattoo artist in a low/mid income college town. my numbers are about the same as they were this time last year, but the desired tattoos have shifted. as opposed to doing one big, intricate and costly piece during a work day, i now do 3 or 4 smaller, more simple tattoos. it pretty much equals out for me, but ive def noticed that people are choosing to get smaller tattoos, as opposed to one good sized one. BUT, there are the regulars, and the devoted, so at least i can rely on the people that are into for the actual modification, not just getting a tattoo to get a tattoo…

  8. If you can’t afford to do it (modification, etc…), don’t do it. Plain and simple. Whether or not the body modification industry is feeling the crisis, the auto industry is feeling the crisis, or you can’t get your favorite pair of DG sunglasses because that’s where the rest of your rent goes; plain and simple, if you can’t afford it in this crisis that the economy IS in, don’t buy it… It doesn’t take a fucking rocket scientist to figure out your bills and your debt, but maybe you’ll want to gamble some more on high risk investments on Wall street and play the game ’til you 401K vanishes like the pensions of retirees … Not me though. Pinch those pennies ’cause it’s going to keep getting worse until it gets better, if it ever does get better. I don’t think I’ve explained this enough to Steve or Eric in the past. But I’m glad that they can see where I’m coming from now :)

  9. I’ve spent educational time in both the “high volume” and “medium/low volume” style shops and I think the effect is very varied. For example, the time I spent with Erin Duff at Chameleon Tattoo and Piercing in Caimbridge, MA was insanely fast paced. I had Erin skip the explanations so I could just observe how she managed to keep her speed up. I’ve never seen anything like her ability to pierce 4 nostrils in what seemed like one fluid motion (don’t fret you worry warts, I speak in hyperbole). Erin obviously had a huge amount of business, and that had a lot to do with being in a mall, next door to Harvard university, and accessible by most of the greater Boston area for no more than four dollars round trip (much less for monthly pass holders like myself). In contrast the time I spent with Dirty G at Outer Limits was a bit more on the lazy side. Granted that when a customer did come in I was witness to a truly masterful piercer at work and have learned scores of knowledge from him, but those moments were a little less frequent than I had hoped. Outer Limits is a stand alone shop in a strip mall in Orange. To get there, you pretty much have to drive, and despite the cheapest Shell station in town being across the street (sadly being one of my excuses to drop by when he’s in town), gas is fucking expensive in Southern California. If you’re at Outer Limits, you’ve pretty much made a dedicated trip, so no impulse walk-ins or conveniently being there like at a mall. Comparing the traffic then to the lines I waited in to be pierced by Ron not a year before….well I think things have changed. For some people body modification is a lifestyle, but most of the people I’ve seen through shops were just there to get something cool that they would enjoy for quite some time to come (pain sluts and fadsters aside). Sadly, those people most likely won’t get anything pierced if money is a little tight (holes being a want, and not a need) despite their desire. My only hope through this disjointed comment is that the economy will improve and piercing will become a profitable industry for more than the old dogs (who all seem to be trying to leave), but until then I’ll keep selling shoes and delivering pizzas.

  10. I work in a mid end tattoo/piercing studio as a body piercer, and we have just raised our prices and people are still getting pierced at about the same rate and the town I live in is a cotton mill town which is being hit really hard.

  11. Hi,

    I don’t think any economic condition will affect the bm-industry. In Holland you can see an annual grow of shop offering tats, piercings and in some cases more bm. That’s good and in my opinion pretty logic: people become more and more independant in this world we live in. We no longer needs mom and dad as rolemodels, we can identify ourselves with numerous people around us and create our own ‘me’. There are some pretty cool sociologists that have written about topics regarding my point. This growing numbers of shops is interesting because I studied this in Rotterdam: in the centre of the city alone there are more and more shop offering one or more kind(s) of modification. Everyone I spoke and interviewed has had their mouths full of becoming more ‘me’ than about any economic condition. My point is, as far as I look in Holland, that the individual is rising: I take tats, piercings and other forms of modification as an indicator for that. No economic condition can stop that. People working in the ‘me’-industry can benefit from this: not only tattoo-artist, piercers, but also individuals like personal trainers, people in sports, surgeons et cetera. So with financial markets crumbling and national economies roaring, my belief is that those developments will have little to no affect on any bm-industry. (read the comments of Skod, sherrie and Kaylove for example).

  12. i think there are two different types of effects. the piercers in the panel are looking at the feelgood effect of getting a piercing on someone who is a bit down. this is fair enough. but i dontr think they are allowing enough for the social change that is going to follow.

    if you look back to the late 60s and early 70s, the economy was high, self expression was in . it expressed itself for guys in long hair and for the daring a single earring, and for girls a looser and brighter style of clothing. jobs were easy to get, even with long hair.

    then the economy got tight in the mid 70s . jobs became more competitive and the pressure for conformity grew. so hair got short, clothes got more conservative, bell bottoms disappeared. instead of kids studyinhg art, a lot more moved towards nuts and bolts stuff like law and plumbing as desirable careers.

    i think thats going to happen here, if there are fewer jobs, piercings (unless in the modest range thats fully acceptable) are going to be more liabilities , and the pressure to conform will be greater. remember that there will always be small feelgood purchases, but they need not be piercings. your fathers and grandfathers got the same feel from a bright tie or a pair of two tone shoes

  13. thx to this thread i learned it’s not making ends meat how funny i jusd aSKED sum1 2day why am i havin so much truble keepin a vegan lifstyle besides if they all luv piercin and tattin so much and aint makin no money find another job and do the peircin and tattin for free just cover the costs of materail sounds like True Romance 2me..So u think it’s white boy day….

  14. i actually really like the conversational format…

    this topic is so interesting to hear perspectives on to, even if i feel that i can’t really contribute in any way.

  15. I like the format also.
    I think in my area southern OH/WV the media is crying about a slowdown but I have to wait 45 min to get into any place to for lunch, diner is an longer. The only thing I see slowing down in this area is the big ticket iteams like cars ect. The tattoo shop is booked two months and the piercer is fairly steady normal.

  16. I love you guys and see where you’re coming from completely. I like how almost all of you are saying that people get work done because of the fact that the economy is shit because it makes them feel better… because it’s true! I’ve been saving for a while to get my Edgar Allan Poe themed half sleeve and am making my appointment next month for it – despite the fact that about a third of my income is going to my mom so she can get us back on our feet after quitting her job.

    Kudos to you guys.

  17. The media does more harm than good with it’s take on things.

    I know that my 401k is trashed. I would expect that in these times. Its also election time so there is a ton of finger pointing going on.

    We can all agree that the price of gas is getting better already, and that in itself is a huge relief. I just stretched my ears to wear some of our newest designs, and it DOES make me feel better about myself. I get compliments, and we all can use more of those right now.

  18. I like the conversation style but it needs to be cleaned up (its a bit hard to tell whos talking where)

    As for the question at hand, one of my friends pointed out to me that as the economy worsens, people will want to escape from their hardships a bit more so things like tattoos, alcohol, drugs, etc won’t be as affected as something that people will try to save money on and give up such as fast food.

  19. I would say to place thier pictures down with lines drawin from thier mouths to their captioned words …p.s does any no of any cULTS THAT SERVE GOOD FOOD IN A SUNNY CLIMATE that would be nice ..cults are`free right??/

  20. in my opinion (if it at all counts)… i have been working in and out of tattoo shops as (in order chronologically) shop help, apprentice (both piercing and tattooing), piercer and apprentice (tattooing), to now piercer and tattoo artist…. this drop in economy and piercings and also having a responsibility to still raise a family, has led me to realize that there is a lil more money in tattoos than in piercings… that being said, when we have slow days with tattoos the piercings really help me out… i guess all i am saying is when times get tough we still have the responsibility to do what you have to do to make it… from a fellow artist to another…. good luck to you all and keep up the good work (to those who deserve this)… sometimes you gotta deal with dumb shit to appreciate the best…

  21. their are really two sides to this. having experienced the professional skateboarding circut i notice 7 year rise and fall. the mod industry will most likely follow suit with the change in generations. for the economic question. i’m sorry to say but more and more people will opt to diy. some of us are going to do it anyways, why not offer education for safe mods? hell, we hand out condoms and health education to high school students.

    i don’t see the economic downturn as a good or a bad thing, this is something we all should learn from.

  22. “As for tattooing, I think the unstable economy might be just the thing to help weed out all the mediocre artists that are riding the media shock wave.”

    i love this concept, and am glad you brought it up.

    (also, i like the format of this a lot.)

  23. #3o u think??? the mediogre artist most likley dont want a min $150 an hour while the good ones do?so there are lots of peeps that the first thing they ask is how much will this one in this book cost me???what ifi get it smaller then how much buy one get one free works to…scientoligist arent they really prudish???

  24. The world economy is indeed in a very very bad state. Probably worse than most people realise. For those in business be very prudent with your business management, If you have people that own you money get it now, or you will never see it. Dont give credit to anybody, control your expenses and assume the worst is yet to come by saving what you can. Body modification will of course survive as for many it is a need and not a want. People will still choose to modify their bodies rather than by a new car – body modification is an investment in a life long lifestyle whereas a car just rusts away.

    That being said I wouldn’t be going investing in expansion or opening a new shop, especially if it’s obvious that others are going belly up. If you are living/working in an area that is going to be severely impacted by the downturn (ie. Auto industry, etc) than maybe cut your losses and move to a more prosperous place. People will always want to modify their body. The industry will never die. Bad business people might go broke, but the good will survive.

    And if you want to get modified keep away from those that are mere medicre because they wont be there for aftercare or aftersales. Look for artists with a longstanding reputation that have been providing a service for 5 years or more than have a portfolio to support their professionalism.

  25. you cant say people will always want to modify their bodies.. basically in our culture , in the last 2,000 years facial piercving and ear stretching have only been round at all for about 10 to 15 happens to be fashionable right now, but it could disappear like corsets did in the 19th century,. this is because there has always been a need by many people to give their personal presentation that little bit extra, its a human characteristic,. but for 1,990 of the last 2000 years in our culture it has been met by something else, whether clothing or hair styles or cosmetics or whatever.and what fills the need changes with the era.
    thats why now ppl who want piercings will still come to shops, while they have a bit of spare money, but in 5 years a new generation may be here who get their morale boost from designer sneakers or something weve never thought of just like people of 40 years ago never imagined piercing and stretching taking off in “civilised” society.
    but as money gets tighter, the choice of putting ready money into mods or other morale boosters rather than rent or gas will be harder, in normal life mods may become a luxury item
    i think the piercing industry is more vulnerable to change than some of you imagine, tho perhaps tattooing has an advantage that so much of it is hidden anyway and wont affect employment opportunities.

  26. “What we do for a living makes someone who is not feeling well feel good about themselves. I do not see it getting so bad that it comes down to “food or a piercing,”Posted by MEG lolololhahahahahahahahahahahaha ur r dum make that with a capital Dum …let them eat cake…O and ucan probably prescribe them prozac or sumthin 4 when the ordorphins wear off and they have to leave ur shop and go back to whatever made them feel so not well…

    “It’s time to get back to the basics, such as customer service and quality. “Posted by barry blanchards….remind me not to go to ur shop at not until u get backto the basic like quialty and service…

    But I think most people who want to get pierced or tattooed will do so because nothing else is going to satiate that desire”posted by derrick Lowe….welll yes ur right but like ur name suggest ur really LOWE ..u people here understand the deep down need and desrie and u come off like fricken crack dealers …

    Uf-ckin people not only suck uswallow…u all agree every1 is going thru hard times but that allot of people still need thier modification fix .why wouldnt u spend the f-ckin time here workin to better things for the client…comming up with paymnent plans…and GOD 4 bid lowwering the prices who the f-ck elsein life is chargin $100-$150 an hour but if u go buy what pinaipple says $100 is a steal and if u come back with anytype of “O” we are artist we have costs f-ck u and -ur shop…most of the people who stop me the first thing they yask me is how much money do u have into that work and when i teell them the price of just one of my tatts thier eyes go wide in disbilief and they say there is no way they could afford that and I thinkto myself yeah there right cause they aint no f-ckin tiemshare salsmean i always said I aint scaired cuase i got they best dope and could walk into anytown anywhere anytime and walk into afull house and whenI lay my handdown i could undercost $ evrybody and walk out withcash in hand …ps knock,knock who’s there?it’s me…me who???it’s me bradly….

  27. tithonus- you said “you cant say people will always want to modify their bodies.. basically in our culture , in the last 2,000 years facial piercving and ear stretching have only been round at all for about 10 to 15 years”

    The first piercing only studios opened over 30 years ago, so I think your facts are a little off. Tattoo shops have been opened for nearly 100 years. Tattooing and piercing are not new things, they are just more popular now than before is all.

  28. tattooing has certainly been around longer, in fact i think the britons were doing it when the romans invaded, but the number of piercing studios arund even 20 years ago was tiny, and the idea of stretching almost unknown to the public.
    but even so , the point remains that the “need” has been and can be filled in many other ways besides either and in our cultures history piercing has nothing like the public avcceptance and years of poipularity of for instance elaborate wigs for men or corsets for women (and men). but now these have totally gone and may never return.
    but the main point i wanted to make is that when money gets tighter and while piercings and visible ink are both seen as making employment harder to get, there will be less cash available for feelgood stuff and a greater likelihood that it will go on something that wont affect job chances. Piercing and tattooing are fine in an era of affluence and high employment

  29. tithonus:

    You make a good point about visible ink and piercings affecting employment of today’s youth, but it seems to me that many places of employment are relaxing their standards quite a bit when it comes to that. Honestly, given the choice of hiring a person with a good attitude that has piercings and tattoos and hiring a person with no visible mods and a mediocre attitude, I’m pretty sure that any employer would see that the visibly modified person would be better.

    I think an attitude adjustment is in order for everyone. I’m tired of people bitching about how a person “looks”. Who cares? If they can do their job well with a good atitude hire them!

  30. i dont disagree with that at all ,Merry.. basically its a race between public acceptability and the economy , and i would love to see public acceptability win. i think it will happen eventually, just like a guy with a ponytail is perfectly acceptable now where in about 1970 it was just one step better than consorting with the devil. trouble is it took about 10-15 years before a guy with long hair become so mainstream he could even work in a bankl.
    where there is a problem is that most ppl who are stretching are in their teens, just like the ones who were growing their hair in the 70s.. when u are in your teens there is a certain fascination with being a rebel– no one wants to be seen as a total conformist . so if the community came to see 1″ stretched lobes as perfectly acceptable, half of the bmeers would be striving for 2″:. i dont know what the answer is there., its just part of being human

  31. #39 and #40 it would b nice if the world looked at thing like that but in reality they r really clothesed minded in allot of places u wont get a joib based on ur work ethic and quilty of work and service INSTEAD u will be based on how many mods u have and how u look……
    2bad people dont think so opened minded like every1 here then reall reeally modded people wouldnt just to have to sell themselves out as a carny freak like lizzard man and Barnet burns gret 5 ties over grandfather of the famous JON p….

  32. I guess my problem is that I when I look at most of the people at BME (and other modification websites) I tend to see the positives rather than the “rebellious” ones. I’m a parent, and all 5 (!) of my boys got their ears pierced when they were growing up. I thought nothing of it. My oldest son (age 24) has a girlfriend with full sleeves. She had a good attitude and is a hard worker. Does any of this make me a “bad parent”? I don’t think so. Once you get to who the person is, and stop looking at their appearance, things get better

  33. #43 merrry how does yur garden grow? and more more ? merrry merrry why u buggin? man i should B workin…do u want fries with that???

  34. I gotta say, as a college student who came from a working class family, money is insanely tight right now. It’s near impossible for me to find a job, even on campus. I have had to make choices of food or something else and honestly it’s really kept me from doing any other mods. I already have about 5 other tattoos planned but I just don’t have the money, I don’t even have the money to go to a bad artist (which I wouldn’t do, don’t worry, I’ll save up). My point is, even though most of you say your business isn’t much different, you probably could be doing a lot better with a growing popularity of body mods if it weren’t for the failing economy.

  35. bradly:
    With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row. More what? Bugs? No bugs here! Yes you should be working, and no, I don’t eat fries!

  36. theres a point bradley has overlooked in 41 where he talks about job applicants not being judged on the basis of their work ethic and quality of work and service. in an ideal world that would be how applicants would be judged. however in an interview situation the interviewer usually has no knowledge of any of these things except what the interviewee (a total stranger till that moment)has told him, so he can hardly be blamed for making the safe choice. his first consideration may have to be the reactions of his customers.

    and certain mods , mainly antisocial ink such as “fuck” tattooed on knuckles, are hardly encouraging when it comes to the likely attitude to customers .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>